As January draws to a close and Spring is slowly but surely on its way, it’s time we check in on how both the LSU men and women’s basketball teams have fared.
We’re a third of the way through conference play and both Tiger teams are showing they belong in the upper echelon of the SEC.
The men’s team keeps flirting with disaster but pulls game after game out of their keester. LSU is 6-0 in league play, the last remaining unbeaten team in the SEC. January has been successful but extremely stressful for Will Wade’s team. The Tiger’s last five wins have been by a combined 13 points and none have been by more than four points.
The men have been dodging bullets all month long. Against Arkansas, Trendon Watford made the game winning shot with eight seconds left in regulation; Skylar Mays nailed a shot just inside the three-point line to push LSU past Mississippi State; A&M took LSU to overtime after the Tigers squandered a 16-point first half lead, and Florida would have done the same if there was extra tenth of a second or two on the clock; in between those games, LSU survived a trip to Oxford against a desperate Ole Miss team that got 36 points from the conference’s leading scorer Breein Tyree.
Every time LSU and Florida play ... I N S A N I T Y.— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) January 22, 2020
What an ending in Baton Rouge! pic.twitter.com/jkI6zPL9ws
Things will only get tougher for Will Wade’s team as the Tigers will have to make return trips to Arkansas and Florida, and have a date with Kentucky and Auburn, who are ranked 15th and 16th in the most recent AP Poll. But LSU is 22-2 in its last 24 SEC games and has shown why they are the defending SEC champions.
The women’s team, on the other hand, has become a giant killer as the Lady Tigers have beaten three teams that were ranked in the top-15. LSU picked off Michigan State in November, beat Texas A&M in their building earlier in the month, and beat Kentucky Sunday.
Highlights from our victory over No. 11 Kentucky pic.twitter.com/siObPsqHCT— LSU Women's Basketball (@LSUwbkb) January 20, 2020
Nikki Fargas’ team is 14-4 and 4-2 in league play. Those wins over Kentucky and the Aggies loom large right now as all three have the same league record and are jockeying for a double-bye in the SEC Tournament.
The Tigers were ranked earlier in the year but squandered it after getting blown out by Oklahoma. Now, LSU is right on the doorstep of getting back in the Top 25; the Tigers received five votes in both the AP and Coaches’ poll.
The Lady Tigers are well on their way to surpassing last season’s win total. Last year, the women won 16 games. This year’s team has 14 wins with nine more games in the regular season and any potential postseason wins.
How Fargas and her Tigers close out the regular season will be interesting to see. On the one hand, LSU has to play Tennessee twice—including at Knoxville Sunday afternoon— a second game against Texas A&M and have to go to No. 1 South Carolina. On the other hand, LSU gets five games against teams in the bottom half of the SEC. If LSU sweeps the five games against the lower SEC teams and splits the four games against the league’s heavyweights, that’s 21 regular season wins, 11 in league play and are almost definitely a top-four seed for the SEC Tournament. LSU hasn’t had a regular season like that since the 2012-13 and 2013-14 Tigers made consecutive trips to the Sweet 16.
With both basketball program’s making serious runs towards its respective NCAA Tournaments, we’ll focus a little more heavily on them. Be sure to read Kennedi as she’s covering the women’s team for The Advocate.
During football season we did a FanPulse where you the readers got to vote on the confidence in the program among other things. Well, we’re getting that back in gear for basketball season. Here’s how you all voted in regards to your confidence in the basketball program.